British people are the fattest in Europe, says Government report

Jeremy Laurance
Tuesday 23 October 2007 00:00

British people are the fattest in Europe, drink more alcohol, eat less fruit and vegetables and are more likely to die from smoking than the average across the European Union.

Despite declining teenage pregnancy rates, the UK still has the highest proportion of births to under-20s compared with other western European countries.

The figures are set out in the Health Profile for England 2007, published by the Department of Health yesterday.

They show that one in four adults is obese and the prevalence of diabetes rose by 50 per cent between 1998 and 2003. Britons drink more alcohol per person than the EU average. Binge drinking is highest in the north-east involving one in four adults.

There are 288 deaths per 100,000 people from smoking in the UK compared with an EU average of 263.

The Public Health Minister, Dawn Primarolo, said: "Whilst we have made good progress in stopping people smoking, I am determined to move further and faster to respond to all these challenges – with a cross-government drive to tackle obesity, improve diet and activity levels and promote safe and sensible drinking.

"This country is already regarded as leading the way in key elements in the fight to tackle obesity, for example our approach on food labelling, restricting advertising to children and evidence collected through the Foresight report.

"Our ambition is to reverse the rising tide of obesity and overweight in the population, by enabling everyone to achieve and maintain a healthy weight."

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "Ten years of Labour government has left us with widening health inequalities and a crisis in public health.

"It is shocking that England is still the fattest nation in Europe. Government action on the issue has been half-hearted at best.

"Monitoring overweight kids will do little more than name and shame those with a problem unless schools are given a follow-up plan and the resources to encourage a healthier lifestyle."

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